September 22, 2008
Emma always had a surprising amount of homework for a first grader. At least in my opinion. I’m not exactly sure why a first grader needs homework in the first place, but nevertheless, as babysitter, it was my responsibility to make sure Emma finished hers. Rule-abiding child that she is, she was on top of things 95% of the time, and finished her math worksheet and spelling sentences correctly and quickly. When she was done I’d grandly proclaim, “you’re a free woman!” and send her off to play vet or spa or store or whatever the day’s game was. Sometime in the middle of the school year, she began to really fight against doing her homework in (a six year old's version of) subtle yet effective ways; sharpening her pencil more frequently than necessary, sliding off her chair “accidentally,” and pretending to not know the answer. After I used every babysitter trick in the book, trying to make homework as fun as possible, I was finally straight with her and asked why exactly she insisted on stalling. She looked me directly and intensely in the eye and firmly told me, “because I’m a free woman”.